Alternative sentencing, in California, includes many different alternatives and forms of punishment that the Long Beach court can impose on you after you’ve been convicted of a criminal (or other) offense. These alternatives could include mitigating your jail term or even getting it dropped altogether. Alternative sentencing may also be referred to as community or non-custodial sentencing.
If you qualify for it, Long Beach alternative sentences may be offered to you and could include combinations of the following: a suspended sentence, probation, fines, restitution, community service, and deferred adjudication/pretrial diversion.
Alternative sentencing is a valuable tool that judges and courts may use to impose a punishment that is more appropriate to the crime you committed and provides the best means of having a positive impact on society, and you as the defendant. The catch is that you must qualify for it.
Alternative sentencing programs cannot be used in all cases. You, as the defendant, must meet specific criteria. For example, if your crime includes the following factors, your experienced Long Beach criminal defense lawyer could argue and obtain alternative sentencing.
Some of these factors are:
o This is your first offense.
o Your crime committed was non-violent in nature.
o Your crime involved drug possession or resulted from drug or alcohol abuse.
o You are not a danger to the victim, others, or the community.
Your experienced criminal defense lawyer will know all the details of your case, and if you don’t have any strikes (serious or violent felonies) on your record and have not committed a crime that automatically disqualifies you from this alternative under the law, then alternative sentencing may be an option that should be considered by the court.
If you do qualify, then alternative sentencing programs will provide you an opportunity to avoid the type of punishment that could disrupt and ruin the remainder of your life.
What Are More Detailed Considerations for Me To Qualify For Alternative Sentencing?
Your criminal defense lawyer will explain this thoroughly, but alternative sentencing is not a legal possibility for everyone. Some of the factors that the courts may consider in determining whether you are an appropriate candidate for alternative sentencing may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Whether the crime you committed was violent, such as robbery, rape, or murder.
- All your previous criminal history in depth.
- If you are currently on probation or parole for another crime.
- Any prior successes or failures in the completion of previous probation or parole.
- If you used a weapon in the commission of the crime.
- If you are currently at risk of harming yourself or others in the community.
You begin to see that whether you qualify for alternative sentencing, depends on the specific circumstances of your crime, especially if it is a criminal offense. Usually, though, alternative sentencing is available for many misdemeanor crimes.
If the court finds that you do not have any serious or violent felonies on your record, and you have not committed a crime that automatically disqualifies you from probation under the law, alternative sentencing could be used as a legally viable punitive alternative.
What Are Some Examples of Alternative Sentencing That I Can Expect?
When your Long Beach criminal defense lawyer professionally presents a case for alternative sentencing, and your judge agrees that you are eligible and grants it, then there are a variety of available options. Some are strictly at the discretion of the judge, but others may be mandatory under California law.
There is a myriad of options for alternative sentencing, but the more common alternative sentencing options include:
o House arrest, which may include electronic monitoring.
o Community service of diverse types.
o Mandatory alcoholics or narcotics anonymous meetings.
o Drug rehabilitation or placing you in a halfway house.
o California drug court.
o Deferred entry of judgment.
o Involuntary mandatory home detention.
o Probation, which may be supervised or unsupervised.
o Psychotherapy sessions.
o Allowing you to pay to stay in a private jail or facility.
o Behavioral management programs, and more.
In specific cases, the judge might suggest that you negotiate a civil compromise with the victim of your crime. This simply means that you could attempt to get the victim to agree or recommend the dismissal of your criminal charges if you pay restitution. This could be a possibility in a crime such as theft, shoplifting, battery, or even hit and run cases. Admittedly this situation may be rare, but demonstrates and affirms the extent of options your knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer may be able to get you with alternative sentencing.
Why Is the Option of Alternative Sentencing Important in California Law?
Alternative sentencing options can be a solution where everyone benefits including you and the California criminal justice system. It prevents county jails and state prisons from overcrowding, and it’s also a significant cost saving to California taxpayers who don’t have to pay for your long and expensive incarceration.
Traditionally, punishment for committing even a misdemeanor or more serious felony crime is having to spend time in jail or prison and paying a substantial fine. However, by using the various forms of alternative sentencing, judges can keep you “out of the system,” and still inflict the punitive action that the legal system demands. Using programs such as early intervention, they can see that your punishment truly fits your crime.
It’s important to note, however, that alternative sentences are just that: an alternative to traditional punishments that the court could inflict. Alternative sentencing is not usually mandatory for you, as the defendant, but failure to serve an alternative sentence will result in the judge using more traditional punishments, such as jail, prison time, and huge fines.
If you are facing conviction, or even prosecution for a crime, immediately consult with an aggressive Long Beach criminal attorney to safeguard your freedom. Any questions you have about alternative sentencing will be professionally explained, and answered, and may protect years of your life, and your rights under the law.
I Want to Investigate My Eligibility for Alternative Sentencing, What Should I Do First?
First, remember that with a criminal conviction you could be facing years in jail, in the county, state, or federal prison. Your life would be changed forever. By consulting with an aggressive, knowledgeable, and empathetic criminal defense lawyer you will be able to explore all your options and may even stay out of jail altogether. The Law Firm of Jerry Nicholson has over 37 years of successful criminal defense experience and will fight for you with all the legal tools at their disposal. Consult with them first, and don’t leave your future up to chance!